CD14 and development of atopic disease at 2 years of age in children with atopic or non-atopic mothers


U. Holmlund, Department of Medicine, Unit of Clinical Allergy Research, L2:04 Karolinska Hospital, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden. E-mail:


Background CD14, a myeloid cell marker and LPS receptor has been acclaimed to play a role in development and manifestation of atopic allergy, as the gene encoding CD14 is located in a chromosomal region linked to total IgE levels and atopic disease.

Objective To investigate the levels of soluble (s) and membrane bound (m) CD14 in cord blood and at 2 years of age from children with atopic or non-atopic mothers and relate these parameters to atopy development at 2 years of age.

Methods Blood samples were collected at delivery (cord blood) and at 2 years of age among infants with atopic (n = 41) and non-atopic (n = 32) mothers. Blood samples were also obtained from mothers at the same occasions. Levels of sCD14 and total IgE were measured in plasma, and percentages of CD14+ cells were measured in cord and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Results We observed significant differences in sCD14 levels in cord blood, where children with atopic mothers had the highest levels. The same pattern could be observed in the mothers at delivery. At 2 years of age no significant differences in sCD14 levels were observed between children with atopic mothers and children with non-atopic mothers and no association between sCD14 and atopic disease was found. Further, we observed large differences in sCD14 and mCD14 with respect to age, where newborns displayed a higher frequency of CD14+ cells compared with the 2-year-olds and the mothers. The reverse was observed for sCD14, with significantly lower values in cord blood than those seen in the 2-year-olds and mothers.

Conclusion Based on our findings, we suggest that CD14 could be involved in the regulation of IgE production, but that it might also be important for the maturation and development of the neonatal immune system.